I was asked to give a talk at Welcome Week to freshman about what it meant to be a man or woman for others. This is only the beginning of what I think it takes to become just that.
Men and Women for and with Others:
It’s not all about me. While not rocket science, the call to love one’s neighbor as oneself beckons a deep sense of fidelity. Why is this the one that always seems to trip us up? While this call to action may not be new for you since coming to Creighton, sharing a small space and community bathrooms might be. Contrary to popular belief, these things help to bring about this word we call “community.” Welcome. While you are here with us, you might be challenged to redefine whom your “Friend” and your neighbor is.
According to Father Pedro Arrupe, the former superior general for the society of Jesus ” our prime educational objective must be to form men [and women] for others; men [and women] who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ – for the God-man who lived and died for all the world; men [and women] who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors. It’s nothing new right? The first commandment, and then the second? While at home with us, students are challenged to redefine whom they call friend and neighbor.
My favorite poet, Wendell Berry, challenges us to realize that A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first. (W. Berry, Citizenship Papers. )
While at Creighton, you will be challenged to think that perhaps God and Neighbor are those first things.
This is not just a theory to memorize but an intentional, albeit virtuous way of living which requires humility, action, and a commitment to justice in all things.The powerful call to be a man or a woman for the other is radical. It beckons a depth of fidelity to someone whom you may never even know personally.
As we pursue truth in our academic endeavors , the ultimate seeking of the good is not only for ourselves, but also for the interests of the other. This is your call to join a community and commit to redeeming the moments that have been lost. The end goal goal is to consider how our world is bigger than each of us, and we will continue to grow our sense of the world while we are here. We must always remember that our actions…..and our very selves…… are somehow attached to the “other” and they to us.